Do we already have the resources needed to predict earthquakes?

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Earthquakes are life-threatening phenomena that occur without notice. As a result, people are always looking for ways to predict them so that they have time to move their families to safe locations before the earthquakes strike. Some people believe that earthquakes are most likely to occur when the weather is hot and humid. Others are convinced that animals will act strangely before a major earthquake. However, many main ideas of psychology, including the six principles of critical thinking, can be used to discredit these outrageous statements.

The Ring of Fire forms a large circle around the Pacific Ocean and is where many of the world's main tectonic plates come together. As a result, it is a hotspot for volcanoes and frequent earthquake activity. This helps disprove the claim that earthquakes are more probable during hot and humid weather through correlation versus causation. Instead of the weather being the cause of the earthquake, it could be a third variable altogether, such as location. Places along the ocean are usually more humid than landlocked areas due to the wet air blowing in from the ocean. In addition, the Ring of Fire includes areas that are near the equator, which are known for being boiling hot. Knowing this, it is clear that weather may not be a cause of earthquakes.

The psychology principal of apophenia leads us to disprove the idea that animals will act peculiarly before an earthquake. Apophenia occurs when a person believes that two independent acts are related. On any given day, a person may view a squirrel erratically running around in a circle. Normally, a person will forget that this ever happened within a few days. However, if a devastating earthquake occurs later that afternoon, the person may wrongly come to the realization that the squirrel was acting that way due to the upcoming earthquake.

Until someone finds a way to successfully forecast earthquakes, we will have to continue looking for ways to reduce the damage they cause, such as by building stronger buildings. However, their prophecies must hold up on multiple occasions in order to be taken seriously. Do you think that scientists will ever discover a reliable way to predict earthquakes? If so, do you think we already have the technologies needed to do so and all we need to do is put them to a better use?

Article about the proposed causes of earthquakes courtesy of:
http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/earthquake.asp

Information about the Ring of Fire courtesy of:
http://geography.about.com/cs/earthquakes/a/ringoffire.htm

Ring of Fire image courtesy of:
http://maps.unomaha.edu/peterson/funda/Pictures/Philippines-3/Philippines_files/image003.gif

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This page contains a single entry by rhein045 published on October 2, 2011 1:44 PM.

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